Apple reports that there are over 650,000 apps available through it's App Store, of which 250,000 + are designed specifically for the iPad. When we first decided to to implement an iPad 1:1 program one of the daunting tasks we faced was how do we chooose which apps to use and how to we get them to our students and staff? The delivery and procurement of apps was solved with a great product from JAMF Software called Casper. The JAMF Casper Suite allows us to manage our iPads and also gives us a way to deliver apps to specific users, groups, classes or individual users. It's ability to tie into our network directory meant that that we could easily facilitate the delivery of apps and management of devices into our preexisting network infrastructure. It also allows us to pass on the discounts the school is eligible for by purchasing apps through Apple's Volume Purchasing Program which knocks 50% off the price of most apps when bought in quantities of 20 or more. Assessing a $50 "app fee" to all students as part of the Mercy iPad Package has covered the costs of these apps with enough left over for any additional purchases that may be needed.
Delivering apps and managing devices? Problem Solved!
Now how do we pick the apps to use?
In order to come up with at least a starting point for what apps would be useful in our environment we formed a committee of teachers and administrators and came up with an initial list of about 26 apps back in March of 2012. This initial sampling of apps has served us well and we continue to add to the list. Eight months later and a few months into our iPad initiative we thought it would be a good time to share just what apps are being used in our classrooms by teachers and students alike. Many of our teachers and students also choose to use apps of their own choosing. Sometimes these apps get adopted for use with the entire school, being used over many different grade levels and disciplines. Some of these apps are part of this list below. We have a process here at Mercy that allows staff members to request apps to be delivered through our management software once they find one for use in their classrooms. Here are the apps we have chosen as a learning community with links to their app store pages: